Drug Law

Marijuana Prohibition is Deadly for Police, Too

| by Marijuana Policy Project

Earlier this summer, a Phoenix marijuana deal went bad and resulted in the deaths of three people. Now, details have been released about the investigation that led up to the massacre. After being connected with a group of buyers through a confidential informant, police planned to sell 500 lbs. of marijuana (seized in previous investigations) for $250,000. During the deal, something went wrong and shooting started.

Many words come to mind when considering this horrible event, which ended with a detective dead and two more wounded, as well as the deaths of two suspects. Tragic. Wasteful. Heroic. For me, one word stands above the rest: avoidable.

The simple fact is that this sort of thing doesn’t happen in regulated industries. When was the last time you heard about a liquor store owner gunning down the delivery driver to avoid paying the bill? As seen during alcohol prohibition – most notably in Chicago during the reign of Al Capone – illegal markets that have no legal means to resolve disputes inevitably produce violence. Once the product is brought into a regulated market, the violence disappears almost overnight.

In a society that taxes and regulates marijuana like alcohol, few of our law enforcement officers will end up murdered over a couple of bales of plant matter.